Liliaeth (liliaeth) wrote,
Liliaeth
liliaeth

Fic: Fragments of Flesh (5/6)

Title: Fragments of flesh
Author:Lore
Prompt:616/Marvel Zombies | zombie Spider-Man | gen | Zombie Spidey ends up in the 616, after Cortez sends him and the others out of their own universe. How does the poor zombie react? How do the Skrulls?
Rating:R for violence and cannibalism
Word count:30.899
Disclaimer: The characters and settings featured in this story are the property of Marvel Entertainment. This is a work of homage and no copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Death of major characters, people will be eaten and killed, in that order, it's a zombies fic
Author's notes: Finally finished and betaed, yay! For the record this is the only fic I'll ever write in Brand New Day continuity. There's a good reason why this fic is set in that continuity rather than in the real one. Just thought you might like to know.














5.





Tony slammed down the phone. He couldn’t believe the stupidity of some people. They actually wanted to bring in the Thunderbolts to take down the rogue Avengers. They were at risk of the end of the world, and all those government cronies could think of was arresting a group of people that was trying to handle the situation. Not that he didn’t want to beat the crap out of Cage for getting involved in the first place, but to send in the Thunderbolts was akin to invoking disaster.

He was fielding off calls from the police, the mayor, and the governor, even the president had called to ask him what was going on. But what could he tell them? That a bunch of zombies from another universe had crossed dimensional boundaries had been made human and that one of them had reverted to his zombie state and was planning to turn humanity into a buffet? Should he tell them to look at Romero’s movies as documentation for what they were dealing with? Or just send them a file with ‘The Walking Dead’ comics?

Looking at those would probably give them as much information as he himself had on zombies. He knew they were highly infectious. He knew from Reed, that if any of the former zombies died, the plague would go back in effect; that they were only in a state of regression and it wouldn’t last. And he knew that the zombie Pym had spent at least two or three days at Camp Hammond before they found out about him.

Rhodey had told him that none of the cadets had been infected. Tony hoped he could trust his word on that. They’d isolated Trauma, just to be on the safe side. Tony hoped they wouldn’t have to take him out. The boy wasn’t even twenty.

Six or seven possible risks of outbreak; one of which had gone down not even half an hour ago. They still didn’t know what had happened to the real Hank Pym. Tony hoped for the best, but considering the remains they found at the lab…

The president had asked him why the Avengers weren’t on the scene yet. Tony’s eyes had gone wide open at even the suggestion. He’d had to use Extremis to keep himself from shouting at the man. Finally he’d sent through five minutes of the footage that Reed had sent to him. Then he slowly and carefully explained just how the plague had managed to spread in this other dimension, how fast it had managed to spread and how short a while it had taken before everyone was dead; including that world’s president of the United States.

All that had taken him twenty minutes, after those were over the president had forbidden him from sending in the Avengers. That’s when it took him another ten minutes to keep the moron from sending in the Thunderbolts. Tony had suggested the use of Sentinels instead. He still couldn’t believe he’d actually asked for the use of Sentinels for anything. Those things were as dangerous, often more so, than whatever they were sent up against.

The president had hesitated a minute; then he’d gotten a no. For some reason they didn’t want him to get his hands on any Sentinels, as if he could learn anything from them that he didn’t already know.

They needed to send SHIELD, start evacuating New York and then go in, fully shielded, preferably just send LMD’s. He’d tried to tell Reed that; that they shouldn’t send any living beings after Pym. But of course, Reed had refused, not once Johnny had made the stupid mistake of going in right after the zombie world’s version of Spider-Man.

At least Cages Avengers had the excuse that they didn’t know the risk. Johnny Storm on the other hand had no such excuse. But he’d waded right in regardless. Tony hoped he wouldn’t end up having to destroy any of them.

So here he was, sitting tight in Stark Tower, throwing orders at SHIELD to destroy the city in case it became necessary, in case they couldn’t contain it. And he couldn’t even tell the press to make evacuation orders public, because the ensuing panic would cause as much harm as the original zombie attack would.

He threw his phone on the table, almost wishing he could just smash it to the floor so that nobody could reach him. God he hated this job. He wished he could just fly to whatever dark and damp hole Nick Fury was hiding out in so he could shove all the authority back at him and let him deal with it. He’d much rather go back to just being Tony Stark, industrialist, or Tony Stark, Iron Man, instead of being the guy with his finger on the button to possibly killing millions of people, just to save billions.

His head was bursting at the seams and no matter how much he tried to rub his temples, it didn’t get any better.

“Tony?” He stared at the door; a man was standing there, short blond hair lining a face that seemed to come right out of the tabloids. Someone who was gone, and would never be back, should never have been back. He’d recognize that profile, that voice anywhere. There was a hesitance in the way this man moved, that wasn’t normal, but…

“Steve?” Extremis easily reached the sensors in the building, testing the intruder, following the path he’d taken inside. Checking for finger prints, DNA samples, even the pattern of his voice, his heartbeat. Every part of this strange familiar face was checked and double checked.

Tony wanted to grab hold of him, and never let go. The stranger looked at him with uncertainty. He wasn’t wearing his costume, but the way he held himself, made even the rags he was wearing look like parade dress. Steve had always had that, the perfect soldier.

The world was going to end, but Steve was here, back. All praise to the zombie apocalypse. Even if it did mean he would probably end up eaten, possibly by the best friend he’d ever lost.


*****




It was like watching a crazy replay of the civil war, with heroes fighting one another and civilians desperately running for cover. All they had to do was move over to Times Square and things would be even clearer. Cops were trying to close down the perimeter around them, but that didn’t help the cops already trapped on the scene or the reporters who seemed to have lost what little sense they had left by choosing to stay here instead of running for their lives. Johnny wasn’t sure whether to commend them for their bravery or curse their stupidity for staying around to serve as appetizers if Pym got back up and grabbed hold of them. Did they really have that much faith in their heroes, that they figured the Fantastic Four or the Avengers could keep them safe? Or did they just not realize the risk they were in. Johnny tried to get Peter’s attention. But the guy just wasn’t listening. Didn’t he understand that he couldn’t do this on his own?

The forcefield kept fluctuating, giving them hope they could get past it, but so far, none of them had had any success. Reed had been calculating odds, building some kind of device that should get them past the field, but so far had been unsuccessful. Johnny had heard him talking over a communicator, when he’d sneaked a peek earlier it turned out he was talking to T’Challa and T’Challa, both of whom seemed to throw each other weary looks as they argued with Reed over the best way to go.

Johnny had wondered why neither of the two had come over, but the younger one was busy with something in Wakanda, and the older version hesitating coming anywhere near Reed. Johnny hadn’t bothered to try and listen any further than that. He didn’t have a clue what they were talking about to begin with. Instead he kept his eyes on the sky.

So it was no wonder that when the forcefield dropped and Ben fell right through it, Johnny was the first to notice the fireworks above them. Peter was lighting up like a Christmas tree, topping the party like a star.

Johnny stood there, mouth gaping wide. What the hell was Peter doing? Reed was too busy with his work to notice it. He was arguing some numbers with T’Challa. In the end Johnny had to grab Reed’s arm and force him to raise his head and look up. “Reed, some help here...”

Reed’s face stretched into terror. “Oh god, these readings… we have to stop him.”

“Why?” It was hard to get over the zombie’s wail of agony. That wasn’t something that happened in the movies, not even in the Evil Dead trilogy

Reed stretched his arm and grabbed his computer pad, adding in some numbers. He seemed to grow even more concerned, which in regular humans would translate to dead scared. “If he doesn’t stop, that blast he’s building up to may well destroy the entire city.”

Peter was going to destroy the city? “But why?” Johnny couldn’t understand it. Even with all he’d done, Johnny couldn’t imagine Peter ever willingly killing anyone.

“One city for the world.” T’Challa spoke with quiet determination. “He’s reckoning that he has to stop Pym and anyone he’s infected now, before it spreads.” T’Challa stood there, eyes closed. Johnny startled, how had the old man gotten here without him noticing? T’Challa was still holding on to his handlink. “I wrote files after it happened, about ways to stop the plague before it spread. One of those ways was to destroy New York City, before the zombies got out of it.” The old man stood there hesitating. “One city for a world.” He repeated.

“But isn’t that wrong, father?” They all looked up at the new voice. T’Challa stared at him in wide mouthed shock. Johnny had seen the guy arrive with the rest of Cage’s Avengers. But he hadn’t really paid attention to him until now. “You can’t just sacrifice some lives to save others, aren’t all lives equally valid?”

“T’Channa?” There was wonder and disbelief in T’Challa’s words, something beyond simple shock, he seemed stunned, and reached out to him as if ready to find himself facing an illusion. Johnny remembered the woman who’d been T’Challa’s wife in that other world, he remembered her showing their T’Channa, a baby.

God they sure grew up fast.

The two men looked at one another and then T’Challa grabbed the other in a hold, as if he wouldn’t let go. Just two men, family, finding one another again in what might be the last moments of their life. Johnny had to look away to find Wasp standing there. She wasn’t dressed in anything he could imagine Janet ever wearing. The shirt definitely didn’t do her skin color any favors. She was barely keeping to her feet, she was standing by sheer force of will; her face looked battered and bruised.

“You’re one of them right?”

She wasn’t listening to him, her attention focused on Pym who was on his knees by now.
“Hank.” She whispered his name with so much venom that Johnny had to take a step away from it.

Johnny wasn’t sure if she even noticed him, or Peter who was still building up to the big kabang. Reed was working on something, probably something to neutralize Peter before he let go. Or at the very least find some way to contain the blast.

But that was Spider-Man up there, still. Even now, after all he’d done. It was also Spidey down there, bleeding and both versions of the man were friends of his. And friends stuck with one another. He had to believe that, or he’d be flying up to someone with power levels to rival Galactus, with no more protection than his own flames. Even as he did so, he had to avoid bursts of energy. He could see that Peter wasn’t aiming them at him. Peter wasn’t aiming anything at anyone; he was too focused on something else for that.

Johnny wasn’t sure if he even wanted to find out what that something else was.

“Peter, wait.” And miracle beyond belief, Peter actually listened to his voice and turned to him to listen. “If you do this… you’ll kill May.”

He wasn’t even sure why he stopped at that, he wasn’t sure why Peter stopped at that. But Peter did stop; he froze up, stared down at his own hands and fell.




*****







The hunger felt like an old friend, he almost welcomed it. It made it easier to accept how much he wanted to taste human flesh. Yet at the same time he blamed Parker. If Parker had just cooperated, if he hadn’t had to knock him out to get him to cooperate, then he could have found a way to modify the serum.

It didn’t have to be like this, he was sure of it. He wasn’t a monster, it was the hunger. If he’d found a way around that, if he could have kept himself from being a slave of this infernal need to keep eating, then things would be perfect. He was strong now, human barriers no longer held him back. He could have become humanity’s protector. But because Parker just couldn’t be quiet for once in his life, it was all ruined, his body damaged and the hunger once again reigning supreme.

Was it so bad to take some of the humans around him and eat them? Even if it were, didn’t he have the right?

And then both Parkers had doubled up on him, one version assailing him with webs, while the other… the other had been the worst. He was a thief; he’d taken the power, the very center of his being and made it worse. Destroying what last restraints he had, all while pretending he was a better person just because…

But he wouldn’t win. Hank could make sure of that. He just had to get up and he’d have the beginning of an army right here. It only took one more, and then another one and another… It was only a matter of time. There were so many, just a bite, a single snack, making sure he didn’t end them, let them live just long enough for the infection to set in…

He could do that. He was Hank Pym, he was Giant Man. He was strong enough. He had to be strong enough, he couldn’t be a failure. Not again. Not… Flesh, so much of it, all around him. Just one more bite, eat one more pile of flesh so he could clear his mind and explain his case to Janet. Make her see he was right. She couldn’t blame him for one more meal, or two, or three.

“You understood, Reed.” He threw at him. “You chose to be infected once. You’re smart enough to understand it now. Follow me and you’ll be able to protect your children. This time you can keep them safe, if you just help me. Give me what I need and we can protect them all.”

Reed would want it, he decided. He had back home. So he was the first to take out. But an invisible force field appeared before he even got close. He still had some power, just enough to waltz through it. Just barely. But it took out of him, and it made him slow.

Parker was falling now, and Hank knew that if he got to him, ate him, he’d get all that juicy power as well, enough to make him think, enough to eat them all. And this time, he wouldn’t have to share. He liked that idea. He liked the idea of an entire planet full of flesh, all for himself.

He could be the new Galactus, serve the purpose that Galactus did, serve his destiny.

Just look at him lying there, curled up, holding on to the power that he’d never wanted in the first place. Acting like a baby with a wet diaper. It pissed him off. Why did Parker always get to act as if he were the only one who cared?

But at least Johnny was making it easy on him, flying towards him. As if he thought he actually stood a chance. And of course once Johnny did that, Reed came right after him. Hank couldn’t have arranged it more perfect if he’d arranged it himself. Who cared about a few burns, when he had a flying snack right in his reach?

Suddenly he noticed something hitting the back of his head. He tried to swat it away, only to notice that it was the other Parker. He forced him to the ground. Then something hit his eye. He looked down to see Iron Fist standing there, using powers he’d never had at home. Cage was with him, along with two people he didn’t recognize. Not that he had anything to worry from some generic ninja guy. He wondered if the guy would splat to the right or the left if he stepped on him.

No, not that; he had to keep him alive. God he was hungry, so hungry. He tried another attempt at getting his hands on Johnny, but Sue’s forcefield kept him from getting close while Ben was trying to grab a hold of his leg. Hank tried to shake him off with all the power inside of him. He managed to throw him several blocks before Reed hit him with some kind of gun.

“Oh come on, I’m doing this for your own good.” He tried to say, but the words came out slurred. Reed didn’t care, he just fired another shot.

Hank fell to his knees, forced to shrink down, he tried to fight it, but his body refused to obey. What had they hit him with? He could feel something messing with him inside his blood and grabbed his head. He was burning, he was hungry and he just wanted to grab someone anyone, and have a bite to eat.

“They could still save you, you know that.” He stared up at her, at her eyes. “We could put you down; lock you up in a room until the hunger goes away.” Janet was there, his Janet, in her own body, talking to him. She was so beautiful, even with the bruises. Had he done that? Maybe? She shouldn’t have said no. He could smell her flesh, all sweet and tasty. Oh Janet.

“You’d want that, wouldn’t you?” And he remembered getting past the hunger. Yes he would, it’d be nice to be able to think and create his new world so he could eat for a long long time to come.

“But we still wouldn’t be able to trust you.”

Then before he could stop her, she shot her stingers at him, the ones he’d given her, so long ago. They hit his head and at first he was laughing, it was ridiculous, she couldn’t hurt him. Could she?





*******




“Is that your definite answer?”

Lisa stared at her cell phone; she’d opened Nick’s number already and was trying to think of what to say. Should she apologize for not telling him where she’d gone off to, for not talking to him at the hospital?

“I’m afraid that answer is incorrect.” The dry and fakely sweet voice spoke from the television’s speakers.

Lisa had been told to wait at the Avengers headquarters. She wasn’t even sure what she was still doing there. She should have just gone back to work, or at least told Nick where she was. He got so worried when she didn’t. She couldn’t help flinching at that.

She had turned the television to the local channel, anything to get her mind of the weirdness she’d gotten trapped into. The weirdness and the fact that she was currently in a superhero headquarters, one that looked like any bachelor’s apartment shared by a bunch of guys with more interest in computer games and minibars, than actual cooking or cleaning up. She’d had to put a dirty sock out of the way when she sat down on the couch. She‘d used the remote to pick it up and threw it to the other side of the room.

“We interrupt this program for a special bulletin.” She groaned as she heard the words, words all too familiar to all New Yorkers who were getting far too used to dealing with the weirdness that came from living in superhuman central. Even the announcer didn’t sound too bothered by it.

“The battle that started at an abandoned warehouse on the eastside has moved on a few blocks. It involves a band of rogue superheroes, more commonly known as the Secret Avengers,” the television showed images of the Avengers as they seemed to be hitting some kind of invisible wall, like mime players caught up in an invisible box, “Yellowjacket, ” She starred at the image of the giant who seemed to be fighting some kind of flying guy, “and the Fantastic Four. Commuters are suggested to avoid the area until further notice”

Just your average New York day. Who cared? She should have just left, before someone tried to make it clear to her how she had to keep quiet about this place. As if she were stupid enough to go turn in a bunch of superheroes, and get them turned against her? She wasn’t that braindead.

She got up to the kitchen and started a new batch of coffee. By the time she got back to the couch, they were still showing the fight. It took her a second to notice that Janet and T’Channa had arrived as well. The newsreader droned in monotone, probably wishing she was on something more exciting than another step of the civil war breaking out all over again. Lisa wondered if they even realized that this was something else entirely.

She couldn’t blame them. If she weren’t here, she wouldn’t see the difference either. This was New York, superhero fights were practically a daily annoyance. Something you were expected to plan for ahead of time, and that your boss rarely if ever took as an excuse for being late.

She looked at her phone again, the light had gone out. She clicked it back on and considered. If she called Nick now, if she apologized and had him pick her up a block away or so. He might forgive her. She’d just take a sick day tomorrow. It was her fault for heading out with a bunch of weirdos.

“Oh my god.” It was the first sign of emotion in the commentator’s voice.

Lisa stared at the screen as she saw the giant pick up one of the bystanders that hadn’t gotten away fast enough and eat him. He actually put him in his mouth and ate him. There was something wrong with his face, his teeth and oh yes, a huge giant gaping hole in his chest.

Some guy in jeans and a shirt was throwing webbing at the giant and all Lisa could think was that she wished she could see his face. But somehow his face stayed muddled and just out of sight. The newsreader kept talking, but Lisa ignored him, she stared at the fight instead. The way the giant fell, and then the flying guy. It looked like the heroes were winning. Just in time for the winning shot as Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp came in view.

Lisa remembered that she had been married to Dr Pym, to Giant Man. The man currently playing the big giant cannibal on live television, Lisa wondered if Janet was scared of him. Yet it didn’t stop her from heading up to him. She looked even smaller in comparison. Lisa clenched the phone in her hands, her finger inches away from the send button.

“I’m guessing she’s hoping to talk her husband down into surrendering. Hopefully they’ll find out what’s wrong with him and …”

Images were quickly cut off into snow, mere seconds later as the editors realized just what was happening, they went back to the scene, after a few moments of shocked silence as the camera was aimed away from the giant corpse.

“Oh my god, Janet Van Dyne just killed her ex-husband, right in front of us. I can’t believe it. Oh God.” The reporter seemed more stunned by the fact that a woman, that Janet, had killed someone, than by the fact that the guy she just killed had been eating people. Lisa swallowed deeply, desperately trying to ignore the urge to throw up. Was this what people would say if Nick ever hurt her and she lashed back. Was this what her life was heading towards? She didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure if she really cared anymore. What would she do if she didn’t have Nick? Where could she go?

The reporter just stood there, blathering on about his shock, but in the background, Lisa stared as the flying man got up off the ground. He was glowing, literally glowing. Dr Richards was yelling something at him and all of a sudden the glowing man aimed his arms up to the air, shooting out a light bright enough to blind if you looked into it for too long. He stumbled up and Johnny Storm ran up to him. Reporters were about to go ask him some questions. But the man just stood there, stumbled and fell to his knees. He looked dazed, eyes still slightly glowing. His face looked so young, weary almost.

The reporters were just making their final statements, on about the state of the world, deciding their opinions on a woman they barely even knew when she realized she was seeing the back of the man who’d been throwing webbing about.

Spider-Man, just in sight of the camera. He was holding his stomach. It was when he stared back at the camera for just a second that Lisa knew it in her gut that this wasn’t over yet. And it all started with him throwing up.

Maybe she should just call Nick and tell him it was over. There were scarier things in the world than him.

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